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President Ruto revisits Covid-19 vaccine apartheid in UN speech

President William Ruto when he gave his speech at the 77 UN General Assembly in New York. [Twitter, William Ruto]

President William Ruto reiterated the need for all stakeholders in the health sector globally to unify and end future pandemics and endemics, to avoid a situation like that of 2019. 

In his Wednesday speech at the  United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States, the Kenyan Head of State said the lack of global unity is an impediment to proper implementation of long-term partnerships critical to building resilient health systems across the world. 

Ruto called on governments, state actors, civil society, and the private sector to work together to combat future pandemics and other health crises.

“The fact of the matter is that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed, for all the world to see, the severe deficit of these critical values in our present multilateral configuration. Global supply chains remained impervious to demand in the Global South generally, and Africa in particular,” he said.

“Unequal access to vaccines underscored this unjust and unequal situation with unforgettable clarity. “Whenever human life, security, and welfare is in jeopardy, it is immoral to administer interventions through frameworks that are anchored on fundamental inequality.” 

He commended Global Fund programs, of which Kenya is a member, for their efforts to combat pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, which he said had and continue to have devastating effects in Africa.

“Kenya calls upon all countries implementing the Global Fund programs, especially fellow African states, to remain at the forefront in championing for successful replenishment of the fund. This way, the mobilisation of much-needed resources is enhanced, bringing us closer to the final elimination of these dangerous diseases,” he added.

“It is time to work on the trust deficit with a stronger conviction that none of us is really safe until all of us are safe.”